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Food for the Restless

Loaves of bread

 

Seventeenth century French philosopher Blaise Pascal once observed, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”  (Pensées)


Pascal's point is not obvious at first glance, but is profound nevertheless.  What he meant is that people feel uncomfortable being alone with their thoughts and thinking about the ultimate issues of life.


We just don’t have the ability to sit in a room – alone – and relax.  We are always searching for something to do.  Something to read.  Something to watch.  We're always scrolling through our phones to find something interesting.


How do we deal with this ongoing, vague sense of anxiety and restlessness?  Scripture offers us several helps. 


It begins by seeing Jesus as the Bread of Life:  offering himself as something to feast on and find contentment in.  Consider a three-course meal Jesus might offer you today.


First - The Appetizer:  Resting in the physical life God has given you.


Have you ever stopped to rest in who God made you?  Are you at a point of . . .

·         Being content with where you are right now

·         Being content with your place in life

·         Being content with the talents and skills you have


We need to stop daydreaming about a life we’ll never have.   The human mind is like a dream machine.   We’re even encouraged to shoot for the moon, dream big and become anything we want to become.  From Disney movies to self-help books we’re assured that lasting happiness is just a dream away.


But will this dream world ever materialize?  Probably not - if it's not part of God's design for your life.  The life you’ve been given is the life God created for you. He made us the way he wants us to be. Psalm 139:13 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . ."


We need to get comfortable with how God has made us and live within the boundaries he has established for us. As some might say today, "You need to stay in your lane."


Second - The main course:  Resting in the spiritual life God offers you.


Have you ever come to a place where you are at peace with God.  It’s one thing to be at peace with who you are as a person.  It’s quite another to be at peace with God.  In our natural state, we are not at peace with God.  That peace we long for only comes as we put faith in Jesus.

A woman in thought

But do you really know Jesus personally?  Do you have real spiritual life within you?


I’m not talking about simply acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God.  I’m not talking about simply admitting you’re not perfect.  Nor am I talking about a general acceptance of the Christian perspective on life.


I’m talking about saving faith: a faith that rests in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  A faith that springs from a genuine conviction that you are a sinner and lost.  In many ways, it’s a faith born out of desperation.


It’s not a faith that necessarily solves all your worldly problems.  It’s not a faith that is going to make your life easier.  It’s not a faith that’s going to get you out of financial trouble.  It’s not a faith that is going to necessarily improve your relationships overnight.


It’s an act of desperation where you reach out to Jesus and say, “I can’t do this.  I can’t fix my life.  I can’t live this Christian life.  I am a sinner and I stand condemned.  Please, Jesus, save me from my sins.”


Life’s most pressing questions are not answered by looking inside your heart.  Your heart does not have the answers to a lot of questions.  Your heart can’t solve your problems.  Your heart is the problem.


Rather than looking to yourself for answers, look to Jesus.

 

Romans 5:1 offers hope.  It says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Peace with God! That's what we all need.

 

Third - The Dessert:  Resting in the favor of God


Do you feel good about and can you rest in . . . God’s love.  God's favor.


Here’s something you may never have thought about:  God likes you.  Try to shift gears away from the word “love” – and just think about the word “like.”

God is for you.  He’s on your side.  And yes . . . he likes you.


Romans 8:31 says “What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, what can be against us?”


God is for you.  He’s on your side.


Can you rest in that?


Rest is something that you must consciously seek.  It is not the default mode of most people today.  We are not – by nature - at rest.  Even when we’re not working – we’re worrying.  Even when we’re not suffering – we’re fretting.

There is always just a little bit of unease – tension – and anxiety in the air.  Some of it comes from our fallen nature. Some of it might come from trauma in our past.  Some of it no doubt comes from Satan.


So we have to deliberately choose to rest in the truths mentioned above.  As strange as it might sound: we have to work at resting.


It’s a discipline that you have to learn.  Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)


Rest!  It sounds so inviting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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